Library News

Library Board Ignores Mayor on Tenley Library, Directs Chief Librarian to Proceed with Construction

Washington DC -- November 19, 2008 President of the Board of Library Trustees John Hill tonight revealed that his board has instructed Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper to proceed with construction documents for a standalone library at Tenley. This comes in spite of Mayor Adrian Fentys selection earlier this summer of developer LCOR to incorporate the library into a mixed use project there.

The Mayors project involves the joint development of a library, Janney Elementary School, 170 units of housing and retail, as well as underground parking. A preliminary plan ignited neighborhood opposition when it was first floated several years ago. Since then, opposition has grown.

Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh, who had initially sought the mayors support for the public private partnership to build the library as part of the mixed use project, recently reversed her position. Last month Cheh made public a letter to the Mayor urging him to drop the partnership and support DCPLs standalone library.

The surprise announcement to ignore the Mayors plan came at a bi-monthly meeting of the Trustees at the Lamond Riggs Library on South Dakota Avenue NE serving Wards Four and Five. When one disbelieving Tenley resident asked if Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Neil Albert had been told, Hill responded that it was not necessary. We are an independent board and can move forward.

Since hiring Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper two and a half years ago, the Trustees maintained that they would begin construction this fall on the Tenley library and three others. They laid out what they termed a dual track strategy, which included working with the neighborhood to plan a standalone library while remaining open to explore the possibilities of the public private partnership. Numerous meetings with development partner LCOR have not yielded a satisfactory plan for the library in the mixed use project.

Members of the Tenley community in attendance thanked the Trustees for keeping their promise to move quickly to rebuild the Tenley library. Trustee Bonnie Cohen deferred all credit for the decision to the leadership of John Hill.

sent by Robin Diener
Library Renaissance Project
1530 P Street, NW
Washington DC 20005